When we receive advice, we must always be grateful that someone is taking the time to do it. However, the fact someone gives us advice doesn’t mean it’s a good advice, or that we have to apply it.
It doesn’t make sense that we believe that, because someone gave us an advice, automatically that becomes a good recommendation, without first assessing it.
Just as there are good people and bad people, intelligent people and stupid people, there are also good, bad, intelligent and stupid pieces of advice.
Thinking about this, I’ve decided to create a list of the five worst pieces of advice I’ve received – or at least in my case – didn’t turn out to be as good as they seemed:
1. If you dream it, you will achieve it. Some people say that dreamers are the ones who will own the world and that people who don’t lose the capacity to dream will achieve everything they want…Wrong!
Keep dreaming forever is one of the reasons why people never accomplish anything they say they will achieve. They think that, only by the fact of projecting ideal scenarios in their heads and being optimistic, those dreams will come true.
Solution: The world doesn’t belong to the dreamers; the world belongs to the people who execute. Use the 90% – 10% rule to learn how to materialize those dreams you have in your head.
2. Success lies in knowing how to sell your product and how to do marketing. “Focus on learning how to sell and do marketing”. This is a good advice, but only partially. The problem with most people following this advice is that they forget other issues that are more important which need to be developed before starting to think about sales and marketing.
Thanks to the internet, every day the distribution channels become easy to reach and more democratized. Every day it’s easier and cheaper to access different marketing tools to promote any product or service.
Because of this, we forget the true meaning and purpose of selling a product or a service: solve a problem The value of that product or service is measured in how much value it´s generating to other people or other companies.
Solution: It’s useless to have a perfect sales and marketing strategy, if the product or service you are offering is a piece of crap and doesn’t solve any specific problem, or makes people lives easier or funnier. Back to basics: Build a product or service that people love. Something that people loves so much that they are willing to give you their money.
After you have this product people love, and you understand why you built it (what problem are you solving) then you can focus on the sales and marketing strategy.
Don’t fall into the trap of becoming one of those “gurus” of social media, who sells financial education courses and miraculous medical products. Don’t sell smoke, don’t focus on getting followers on social media and promoting a product or service that doesn’t deliver what it promises.
3. Think big and aim to reach the stars. This is a classic. We often associate success with monumental projects and executions. For some reason, in this days the only valid and respectable are the “macro” projects.
We have been losing the ability to feel proud of the little achievements and little actions. We are capable of thinking big, but not to execute big. There’s a huge gap between what people want to do, and how they want to do it. We know how to dream, but we freeze and get scared when we start to think about how to start building that dream.
When we understand that dreaming is much easier than executing, anxiety takes control of us and we abandon all the projects and ideas we were trying to execute. Reality punches us in the face and we realize that “thinking big” is not a good advice if we don’t know how to adapt it to reality, to the real world.
Solution: Keep thinking big, but take the time to deconstruct what you thought into little steps that would become easier to execute. Learn why the key to achieving more lies in the “micro details”.
4. Leave it to the professionals. Other of the main obstacles that affect people on their way to achieving what they want to achieve is that they feel afraid of not being enough prepared to do so. It’s curious, we forget that the way to get prepared to do something is precisely trough experience: doing it, making mistakes, doing it again. We often use the excuse that, if we are not enough prepared, we should assign the work to another person
In reality, this works the other way around: the one who is considered an expert – or professional – is not necessarily because he studied in college, but because he dared to do it one day, and from constant practice, he obtained abilities and became a master in his field, to the point that now he is considered a professional.
Solution: Don’t be afraid or intimidated by the labels that people use to talk about other people: Expert, professional, teacher, etc. If you want to do something, there’s no problem that you try, and that through trial and error, you start to get familiar with the process of how to do something and to constantly improve.
I’m far from being a professional writer, and I have no idea what the hell I’m I doing with this blog, or where is it going to take me…But I’m sure that, if I keep writing constantly and post at least once a week, in a couple of years I will be writing much better than I do now, and my posts will generate more value for my readers.
I didn’t hire a professional to teach me how to write. I want to make mistakes, experiment by myself and become a better writer by my own experience.
5. Surround yourself with people with your same tastes and your same way of thinking. This may be a good advice, but applied only to certain contexts. It’s obvious that it’s important to surround ourselves with people with our same ideals and way of thinking, but does not necessarily imply that they need to have our exactly same tastes or lines of thought.
Life would be too boring if everyone around us thought the same. Part of the fun is to find contrasts and meet people that make us question our way of thinking, people who encourage us to make new professional, musical, physical and spiritual discoveries. That’s what enriches any social group: Diversity of thinking. From the sum of eccentricities and crazy ways of thinking is where the best debates, ideas, and solutions are born.
Solution: There’s no other option, sometimes we need to simply apply and believe in the clichés. Apply the phrase: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Think on how much diversity are you surrounded by. If all your friends and acquaintances are exactly like you, it’s time to expand your social circles and meet new people.
Many of the activities I do in my daily routine, a lot of my hobbies and musical tastes come from people around me that are completely the opposite of what I am. I started to absorb information from these people, to learn and to adopt some of the cool tastes they have.
Not all advice fits everyone. The 5 pieces of advice you just read didn’t help me. Probably some of them are useful for you, and probably my advice (the solutions I propose in this post) could seem stupid for you. It’s okay, the point is to always have in mind that an advice is something optional, not something we should apply just because someone was kind enough to give it to us.
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